The hippie movement was a kind of cultural revolution that swept the nation in the early 1960s. The youth decided to rebel against the traditional societal boundaries and the result shocked the older generations and freed the youth. Beginning around 1961, the hippie movement changed the world.
The psychedelic movement was driven forward by increased experimentation with drugs like LSD or acid. Early hippies who were brave and ready to break away from the norm happily took part in ‘acid tests’ throughout California. Within California, Haight-Ashbury was a hippie haven where college drop-outs gathered together to enjoy new music, live in the inexpensive Victorian apartment housing, and join in the drug culture. By 1966 there were 15,000 residents in the area who defined themselves as hippies!
The Vietnam War, which was very controversial at the time, sparked protests among the growing hippie communities. The peace makers refused to participate in the war and burned draft cards in the streets as early as 1964 to show their disdain for the military involvement that they vehemently opposed. Despite their exaggerated demonstrations, politicians did not embrace the hippie philosophies of peace, love, and pacifism.
Woodstock is one of the most iconic events in hippie culture but many people don’t know that it happened nearly a decade into the revolution. The festival drew crowds of more than half a million people and has been classified as the ultimate symbol of hippie culture. In nine short years the ideals of love, human fellowship, exploration, and expression through art had been realized in an event that blew the doors off of anyone’s wildest expectations.
Today the clear realities of the hippie movement have passed but the threads still remain. The hippie movement began more than 50 years ago and was so influential that it continues to be well-known today. Psychedelic influence continues to show in music today, the call for world peace has not been forgotten, and bell bottoms, tie die, and wedges press into modern fashion arenas. The hippie movement has not been forgotten, it’s simply been adjusted.